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This Week in Science: May 17, 2019

In Science this week, a University of California, San Francisco, team describes using single-nucleus RNA sequencing of tissue from the brains of autism patients to identify molecular changes associated with severity of the condition. They analyzed patients' cortical tissue and find that synaptic signaling of upper-layer excitatory neurons and the molecular state of microglia are preferentially affected in autism. Additionally, dysregulation of specific groups of genes in corticocortical projection neurons correlates with clinical severity of autism, they write. The findings implicate molecular changes in upper-layer cortical circuits in behavioral manifestations of autism.

And in Science Advances, Yonsei University scientists publish a novel sample barcoding method for high-throughput multiplex single-cell RNA sequencing. In the approach, samples are transiently transfected with short barcode oligonucleotides, and the researchers validate their method through a species-mixing experiment in which samples from a 48-plex drug treatment experiment were pooled and analyzed by a single run of Drop-Seq. "Our method presented here is very simple and readily applicable to individual laboratories because of the easily accessible reagents and simple experimental process," they write. "In addition, because our method is based on liposomal transfection, it has ... potential to be applied to nucleus samples."